My experience with Senior Health Care has been varied. For the past several weeks, since the end of November, I have been either at the hospital with my mother or living in her retirement residence 24/7 as she has coped with various health issues. Most of these issues have been UTIs, which I have been told is common in the elderly. The last bout, within one week of her being released from the hospital saw her with temperatures of 38.6 and 38.4 and a trip by ambulance back to the hospital. Thus I have had the opportunity to witness first hand senior’s health care from her living in a retirement residence, to hospital, to surgery in another hospital, back to the local hospital and more.
Our local hospital has a policy of “return home as quickly as possible”. I think in my mom’s case the return home without checking if she had another UTI after having the catheter removed was a little premature. They had actually wanted to release her even earlier, but I was sick and unable to take her back to her residence, so her release was delayed by about 4 days. Unfortunately she returned in less than a week.
At her residence she had some support through Paramed, but the care left much to be desired. There were no specific workers assigned, the times were never the same, and many PSWs wanted to put mom into her pyjamas before 7 pm – even when she was attending a special event being held at her residence. More than once I told them that was NOT ACCEPTABLE. There is a huge shortage for PSWs in our area – one reason I think is that they are not well paid and not treated as well as they should be with regard to appointments and travel costs.
I am lucky that I am semi-retired and able to work from home with my job as an online Career Counsellor. My sister is not so lucky as she still works full time and lives 5 hours away, so she is not able to be with my mom as much. She took time off work when mom came into the hospital as we thought we were losing her, however mom’s body overcame the infections and she is still here. Her mind, however, did not survive the infections and the repeated hospital stays as well. She has begun the dementia downslide and many days begin with “why am I here?”
There are many things that I see, being here at the hospital 12-14 hours a day. I see that the hospitals are understaffed to take care of so many patients and the waiting time from asking to be taken to the toilet to actually getting there can be up to half an hour and sometimes more as the nurses deal with other patients who also need two person transfers. Many times patients are left to wonder what is going on. My mother has many times burst into tears while waiting, thinking that no one cares about her and that the nurses and hospital staff just want her gone so someone else can have her bed. Yes, this is a part of her dementia/delirium, but it is difficult to deal with.
I don’t have statistics to quote and, although I now have my computer here at the hospital so I can work while she sleeps, I haven’t looked them up yet. That may be a project for another day.
If you have a loved one in the hospital, I send you love and peace.
I hope that you will have a blessed day.